How To Make Your Apartment AWESOME On A Limited Budget

A cozy, tasteful, unique place to live and to entertain: you want your apartment to feel like home. Even if you’re working on a limited budget, here’s how to jazz up your Ikea and Target world and add your personality to your apartment: Quality over quantity. Not sure what quality is? You can either re-read Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance… or you can just ask yourself what you value or appreciate and then try to integrate stuff—images, items, paintings, lamps, rugs, etc— that communicates those values into your place. Frame a painting by a relative, a poster from a favorite film, a comic strip, a record cover, an arty photo of you and friends when you were kids. Remember that basements and attics of family members can yield pure gold from a decorator’s perspective. And it will probably give Grandpa a big grin and a good story to share with friends when he learns you want to put his old records up on the wall! Go for personality. Many small items of flair will probably have less impact than one or two really cool items that each cost a bit more. You’d probably spend about the same on either approach, but with less stuff your apartment will still feel bigger. Check out garage sales, thrift shops and weekend markets. To keep from getting overwhelmed by selection, review where you have space for decoration and what colors or themes you’re looking for before you even start. Add plants. A couple of midsized plants can break up your space and be pleasant to have in your apartment. If you have any relatives or friends with huge gardens if they have any plants they’re looking to get rid of; you’ll do them a favor by taking something off their hands they were going to trim down or throw out anyway. Just be sure you dig out enough roots, and be sure the plant they give you can survive indoors, and be sure to pot it well, in a container that looks good and permits for proper drainage too. Add paint or fabric. A new cover for a couch can change a room’s mood: look for rich, vibrant colors and interesting textures to add visual and tactile depth. Throw pillows can be whipped up in an afternoon with a little patience if you follow instructions of a web how-to video. And if you have a bland table or bed you want to spice up, consider painting a solid color. Or if you’re more adventurous and have a vision for a color scheme or pattern, throw an ad on Craigslist to see if any artists would be willing to help you transform your furniture.

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